Roe-ing to the Kingdom

7 Jun
Roe Family Singers

Roe Family Singers

“I saw the light, I saw the light. No more darkness, no more night. Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight. Praise the Lord, I saw the light.”     – Hank Williams, Sr.

Every Monday night at the 331 Club in Northeast Minneapolis, The Roe Family Singers unite a diverse crowd their contagious musical merrymaking. The room fills with the sounds of folk and bluegrass music coming from a variety of different instruments, including the musical saw, jug, washboard, autoharp, and several string instruments. While watching The Roe Family Singers, I could not help but notice the joy and fervor in their performance. This music runs far deeper than merely a gig or hobby; it is a representation of their deep roots in the values of sincerity, love, faith and an appreciation for a good ol’ hoedown. Even as a spectator in a loud crowded bar, you get the feeling that you are being welcomed into the Roe family living room.

The Roe Family Singers play a combination of original works and covers of artists such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and John Prine. Quillan and Kim Roe, husband and wife, who are worthy to be compared to Johnny and June Cash, are the primary vocalists. In addition to mandolin, banjo, bass, and guitar, Adam’s musical saw sings out in ethereal tones, J. Olson strums the stand up bass, Ol’ Spitty blows a rhythm on the jug, and Ric’s violin playing shifts from complex classical melodic sequences to foot stompin’ fiddle tunes. The members play for the pure love of the music. With their payment being a pitcher passed around for tips, the performance is an expression of the faith and love they wish to see in the world.

Quillan Roe, guitarist and lead singer, told us that he found the church and the Holy Spirit through music. While listening to the early works of Elvis Presley and Hank Williams, Sr., he noticed the passion and faith that translated from their lives into their music. This passion and faith in the music was inspired from their experiences in praise and worship of God. Starting out by merely wanting to listen to what Elvis and Hank were listening to, Quillan has gone on to be inspired as they were inspired, and to sing as they sung, with passion and faith. As The Roe Family Singers render a cover of Gillian Welch’s By the Mark, and Quillan sings, “I will know my Savior when I come to him, by the mark where the nails have been.” I, myself, am inspired through Quillan’s music as he was once inspired through Elvis and Hank.

It seems fitting that this review should end just as Quillan ends every show:

“Be kind, be safe, and treat folks the way you want to be treated. God Bless ya’ll!”

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